C.J. Wilson #36 of the Texas Rangers pitches during a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona.
C.J. Wilson has done a lot in the past year.
Before the 2010 spring training began, Wilson told Texas Rangers management he wanted to move from his sometimes closer, sometimes set-up role, in which he was highly effective, to the starting rotation.
They told him he had to be good enough to crack the Top 3 or he'd remain in the bullpen. No problem.
Wilson was the Rangers' best starter in 2010. The 30-year-old went 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA and eclipsed 200 innings, nearly tripling his career high for innings pitched. The one blemish on his line was his league-leading 93 walks, but he also had 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
The walks need to come down a bit, but heading into 2011, Wilson has shown he can be a true staff ace and not just a really, really solid No. 2 guy.
Wilson, who lives by the "Straight Edge" way of life, meaning he takes really good care of his body has a relentless work ethic and has worked as hard as anyone in the league to hone his craft.
That, coupled with his eccentric personality and affinity for racing cars, makes him one of the more entertaining pitchers in the league, as evidenced by his Twitter war last fall with freakish San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson and his freakish, black beard. (C.J. can be followed at @str8edgeracer).
But C.J. is much more than talk.
He'll pitch in a minor league game today because of weather concerns. So far this spring, he's tossed 14 innings with a 4.50 ERA and has 11 strikeouts with just four walks, which is just fine for an ace preparing for the season. He's not looking for mind-boggling numbers at this time of the year. Those will come, and Wilson will prove he's more than just a really good guy to have behind Cliff Lee.